Hit animated film The Boss Baby is back with a sequel and this time they mean business, family business.
Releasing in UK cinemas this week, The Boss Baby: Family Business reunites us with the Templeton brothers as they are recruited by new Boss Baby Tina to help stop a villainous plot.
The all-star cast is back including Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow, but this time they are joined by several newbies to the franchise including James Marsden (X-Men, Westworld), Amy Sedaris (The Mandalorian, BoJack Horseman) and Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day).
Watch the trailer here:
We chatted to director Tom McGrath about returning to the Boss Baby world, how the film celebrates childhood, and the way the cast made the characters their own.
Zavvi: Congrats on the movie! Did you already have the idea for the sequel whilst making the first film?
Tom: No, actually we thought it’d be a great one-off story and didn’t think about a sequel. The first movie does end with a tease but it was to tell kids that Baby Corp could be real, it isn’t just Tim’s imagination.
But the studio approached us, so we started thinking about family and is there a story worth telling. Well, family is an ongoing drama that lasts a lifetime.
We thought as adults you can grow apart, so that’s a real thing we could explore in the sequel with the brothers. And it’d be fun to do a Back To The Future in reverse, they have to become young again.
We had these themes that formed an overall backbone, that inspiration really being that with families it’s never to late to have a second chance to reconcile.
And that’s all in the disguise of a broad comedy!
Zavvi: It’s interesting here that the perspective switches to that of the parents, and we discover the importance of childhood from that point of view.
Tom: I was reading an article about how we are putting too much pressure on kids academically, and like going to pre-school is an audition for college.
So part of the movie celebrates childhood and the imagination of childhood. You only have one shot at childhood, and as a parent you don’t want your kids to grow up too fast, you want them to enjoy it.
Zavvi: There’s some great new female characters in this one, Tabitha and Tina…
Tom: Yeah, the first movie is two petty brothers and the joke was although the baby is the adult, he’s still just as petty. So with the sequel we thought here’s an opportunity to feature some strong female voices – not only can they add more comedy, but also more grounding.
Tina was originally a smaller role, but as we developed the character and brought Amy Sedaris in, we realised she was the spine of the story. She is the one who is the pivot point, so she became much more prominent.
The joy of animation is that you are not locked to a script, so as you discover things you can build off that.
Zavvi: Talking of the animation, it’s so creative and driven by imaginative sequences. That must be fun to create?
Tom: It is and the animators love having fun with it. I think it harkens back to traditional animation.
Also there’s something for every animator, as some enjoy doing the subtle dramatic scenes, and others like doing the physical comedy stuff, which hopefully creates a balance.
Zavvi: The comedy is rather balanced too, jokes for kids and humour for more mature audiences too.
Tom: We don’t think about what will kids like, and what will adults like, you just aim to make yourself laugh. So the rule is if it makes us laugh, hopefully it will make audiences laugh too.
Actually the one silver lining of working on it through the pandemic was that we were all working from home, so the animators’ kids would want to watch the dailies. We then had a built-in audience and if the kids were laughing we thought we were alright!
Zavvi: Like an at home focus group! You described the first film as a love letter to your brother, was there any particular inspiration here?
Tom: There’s a little bit of my sister in Tina, but with the story between the brothers, that has a personal angle.
My brother and I made movies when we were kids together, and we had dreams of being filmmakers. My brother had kids very young, and whilst he was a working father, I was able to become an animator and pursue our dreams.
In a way I think he was always slightly jealous of me as I got to pursue the career, but I was jealous of him as I was so career focused I didn’t really have a family. That plays a big part in the brother story in this film.
Zavvi: Jeff Goldblum has joined the cast for this one. That must have been exciting?
Tom: The casting process always starts with the characters, and we were fortunate enough to get our first choices. I don’t want to spoil Jeff’s character in the film, but it just made sense!
But a testament to the cast’s acting and the animation, it feels like they are in the same room together. Also although we had a script, the cast were great character creators, so they were improvising.
So over the course of a couple of years you create these scenes that feel very spontaneous and funny. I tip my hat to all of them!
Zavvi: One last question. Boss Baby 3 – would you be up for it?
Tom: Oh yeah, absolutely! But like the approach with this film, you can’t do it because it made a load of money, you have to ask what story are we telling? What’s the next chapter we could explore?
Something fun and rather unique about this film is that it’s actually set 25 years after the first movie. So if there is a third film, maybe there’s another 25 year gap. But let’s see how audiences react!
The Boss Baby 2: Family Business is out in UK cinemas from 22nd October.